By Adekola Afolabi
The Chairman, Ondo State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Jamiu Maito has decried what he called poor state of infrastructure in the Ondo State Local Government Staff Training School, Itaogbolu, Akure North Council Area.
Hon. Maito who spoke during the committee’s visit to the training school, however, called on government to urgently renovate and provide other necessary facilities including toilets in the institute to ensure conducive learning environment.
This is coming as the Permanent Secretary, Local Government Pension Transition Department, Dare Olipede said arrears of pension for 11,093 local government pensioners stand at N7.2bn , while their gratuity also stand at over N25bn as at May this year.
He gave the figure while addressing the House Committee members who were on familiarisation visit to the Ondo State Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), Local Government Loan Board and the Pension Transition Department, at Alagbaka Akure, the Ondo state capital.
Earlier at the Local Government Staff Training School, Itaogbolu, Hon. Maito lauded the establishment of the training school, saying it is a very good vision for the development of the staff of local governments.
The committee chairman described training and re-training of staff as very vital to build their capacity and ensure better performance, just as he appealed to government to improve on the facilities in the school to provide conducive environment for both the trainees and the trainers alike.
“Training is essential part of human development. Having this institute here for the training of staff for better performance is lofty a idea. If you look around you will see that some of the buildings are still okay, but others, especially the hostel and the rest are eyesores.
“I think it is very important for the government to look into the renovation of the buildings. If government was not having this training institute in place you can imagine what it will cost government to train the council staff elsewhere to enhance their performance. But since we have it here to serve this good purpose the government should wake up to its responsibility and see how to improve on the facilities,” Hon. Maito stressed.
He equally condemned the engineer who supervised a storey-building which was built in 2004 but was yet to be put into use because of structural defects, describing the project as a waste of public fund.
Hon. Maito who commended the government for sustaining the school which he noted is serving its purpose, also called on government to do something about the unused building to pave way for a new project in the school.
On the familiarisation visit to Ondo State Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), Local Government Loans Board and the Pension Transition Department, the committee chairman said the essence of the visit was to see how well the three agencies are discharging their responsibilities of serving the state and their workforce in particular, both serving and retired.
Hon. Maito particularly appreciated the state Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, for the regular payment of salary of workers since he assumed office.
Earlier, the Chairman, Ondo State Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), Femi Idris, appreciated the committee for the visit, and expressed optimism that the visit will bring positive change to the school.
While attributing the infrastructural decay in the school to lack of maintenance on the part of the successive administrations, the LGSC Chairman solicited for the support of the lawmakers to make sure fund is available for the provision of necessary facilities in the school. He also noted that discussion is on going with the Governor to ensure positive change.
The Permanent Secretary, LGSC, Ade Akinbosade disclosed that lack of funding has been the major challenge facing the school and the three agencies, adding that the development has equally made capacity building very difficult. He added that LGSC has the constitutional right to draw one per cent from JAAC account and another one per cent from revenue accruiable to the Commission, noting this has not been coming since 2013.
On her part, Permanent Secretary, Local Government Loan Board, Pastor (Mrs) Odunayo Ketiku noted that between May 2015 and June this year, N422m loan has been disbursed to 1, 615 LG staff across the state , with three to four years repayment period.
Also, the Permanent Secretary, Local Government Pension Transition Department, Dare Olipede who said arrears of pension for 11,093 local government pensioners stand at N7.2bn , while their gratuity also stand at over N25bn as at May this year. He added that out of the 11, 093 pensioners, 2, 624 are council pensioners, while the remaining 8, 469 are teachers